DANVILLE -- Early voting began Oct. 5 in Knox County, and Danville residents have the opportunity to vote for two school board seats.
Election day is next month, on Nov. 2.
Voters will choose among two of three candidates for Danville Local Schools school board: Charles Bratton, Dawna Stephens and Paul Stover.
Bratton and Stover are incumbents. Stover has served on the board for six years, and Bratton has served for nearly 16.
The candidates have worked in fields ranging from manufacturing to farming to nursing.
The main aspect of current district operations the candidates aim to improve if elected is strengthening communication and relationships — both between staff and parents/guardians and between teachers and students.
What in your background qualifies you for this position?
Charles Bratton has been a self-employed farmer for 46, going on 47 years, he said. He graduated from Ohio State in 1975.
“I have always been very civic-minded,” Bratton said. “I was the township trustee and fiscal officer for over 30 years.”
Dawna Stephens is a nurse, wife and mother of three children, she wrote.
“I feel I’m qualified to be part of the school board as I’ve lived and went to school in Danville my whole life,” Stephens wrote. “We are raising our children here and I want to encourage and help cultivate strong, determined, independent adults in our small town.”
Paul Stover has lived in or around Danville for more than 50 years, he wrote. He and his wife both graduated from Danville, as did their three sons.
“I have 24-plus years of upper management experience from a very large manufacturing facility being directly responsible for all daily operations including but not limited to financial performance,” Stover said. “I believe this gives me a very good understanding and experience of managing through the many challenges schools are currently faced with in today's unprecedented times and for the future.”
Stover also wrote he is degreed in six sigma black belt methodologies.
Why are you running for this position?
Bratton is running to ensure continued school improvement.
“I think we have made a lot of improvements academically, especially in the last several years and I just want to see that continue,” Bratton said. “We are a very strong district financially. We have a lot of loyalty here at this local district.”
Stephens is running to support Danville’s children and teachers as well as to improve the relationship between them, she wrote.
“I feel I’m approachable and will encourage feedback from the community,” she wrote.
Stover’s main reason for running is to drive continuous improvement in school operations on a day-to-day basis.
“My belief is that children are clearly our future and we have to do our very best in preparing them for when they graduate from Danville Local Schools, whether it be preparing for continued education, the military, the job field, or wherever their dreams or desires may take them,” Stover wrote.
What are the strengths of Danville Local Schools, and what would you work to change if elected and why?
Bratton sees Danville’s small community size as a strength, he said, adding that Danville does well at instilling a strong sense of work ethic in its students.
“I would want to continue to work at improving having the right person in the right place as far as staffing, as far as helping young people,” Bratton said.
Stephens noted Danville’s long-term staff retention, staff-to-students ratios and passionate administrators as district strengths.
“As years pass, change is imminent,” Stephens wrote. “More communication from all areas, from superintendent down to the students, is important. I would like to see more involvement from the community academically.
“I want to work on improving teacher-student relationships. Over the years I’ve heard kids say ‘the teacher doesn’t like me’ or ‘the teacher favors the girls over the boys.’ If we work on improving this misconception I feel this will improve respect, fairness, and build character in our youth.”
Stover noted Danville’s community support and fiscal responsibility as strengths of the district.
“For a district our size to be able to accomplish so many things with less resources than many, it is amazing to be a part of, and we have to be thankful for what we have,” Stiver wrote. “I believe we have to be flexible in change today as we are currently in unprecedented times.
"I believe we can continue to improve in many areas, and we have to continue to build strong relationships and improve communication with all of our shareholders.”